Author: Dr. Angelika Hellweger 10 July 2023
Angelika Hellweger was asked by Law360 to explain the increased risk of enforcement action that UK lawyers face under new restrictions on the legal advice that can be provided to individuals and businesses with connections to the Russian government.
The UK government has said it will prevent UK lawyers advising Russian companies on business deals that are viewed as aiding the Russian military, as part of an attempted crackdown on anyone helping sanctions targets get around the restrictions. The new measures have been introduced by the Ministry of Justice under the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2023.
The rules, which came into force on June 30, prohibit the provision of legal advisory services to any non-UK person in relation to, or in connection with, any activity covered by the UK's sanctions on Russia if the activity was conducted by a UK person or took place in the UK.
Angelika emphasised that both law firms and individual lawyers who are involved in non-contentious business need to take a cautious approach. She added that lawyers should pay particular attention to clients and transactional advisory requests involving jurisdictions which are usually linked to sanctions evasion – jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands, Belize, Cyprus, Moldova, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, China, Brazil, India and certain former Soviet Union states.
Angelika explained that they should assess their exposure to sanctions-related risk and review and update their risk assessments, as failing to comply with the rules could leave firms and lawyers facing regulatory proceedings brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and even possible criminal proceedings.
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Angelika is a specialist in international, high-level economic crime investigations and large-scale commercial disputes. She has widely-recognised expertise in representing corporates and conglomerates in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and United States.